Small and inexpensive but still powerful, Evercool's Venti HPQ-12025

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 6, 2013 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: evercool, Venti HPQ-12025

If you need an inexpensive and relatively small heatsink then FrostyTech has a review you should check out.  At a mere 125x68x160mm and 588g the Evercool Venti HPQ-12025 is tiny compared to many on the market and at $30 it is significantly less expensive than larger competitors.  With that small footprint you could be forgiven for thinking that performance would suffer but FrostyTech's testing shows it to be a solid midrange performer and still reasonably efficient when running the fan at its lowest speed.

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"Airflow is driven by a single 120mm PWM fan whose snow white 7-bladed impeller rotates at your basic 2200RPM to 800RPM. Noise output is moderate. Because computer enthusiasts tend to be picky bunch, Evercool have tossed in one extra set of wire fan clips."

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Source: FrostyTech

Noctua Releases PWM Controlled NF-A14 140mm Case Fan

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 3, 2013 - 06:32 AM |
Tagged: pwm, noctua, nf-a14, fan

Austrian PC Cooling manufacturer Noctua has released a new fan called the NF-A14. The new fan is PWM controlled and aimed at case or watercooling radiator cooling. The NF-A14 uses a square frame and features higher static pressure than the NF-P13 along with a maximum speed of 1500RPM.

Noctua NF-A14 PWM 140mm Case Fan.jpg

The fan kit comes with the fan itself, mounting screws, a rubber mounting system to reduce vibration, a 30mm extension cable, low-noise adapter, and a 4-pin Y splitter cable that allows two PWM fans to be connected to a single motherboard fan header. The new Noctua NF-A14 comes with a 6 year warranty.

Noctua NF-A14 PWM 140mm Case Fan1.jpg

You can find more information on Noctua’s website as well as the full press release after the break.

In other cooling news:

Source: Noctua

Possible power supply issues for Intel Haswell CPUs

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Processors | May 1, 2013 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: power supply, Intel, idle, haswell, c7, c6

I came across an interesting news story posted by The Tech Report this morning that dives into the possibility of problems with Intel's upcoming Haswell processors and currently available power supplies.  Apparently, the new C6 and C7 idle power states that give the new Haswell architecture benefits for low power scenarios place a requirement of receiving a 0.05 amps load on the 12V2 rail.  (That's just 50 milliamps!)  Without that capability, the system can exhibit unstable behavior and a quick look at the power supply selector on Intel's own website is only listing a couple dozen that support the feature. 

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This table from VR-Zone, the source of the information initially, shows the difference between the requirements for 3rd (Ivy Bridge) and 4th generation (Haswell) processors.  The shift is an order of magnitude and is quite a dramatic change for PSU vendors.  Users of Corsair power supplies will be glad to know that among those listed with support on the Intel website linked above were mostly Corsair units!

A potential side effect of this problem might be that motherboard vendors simply disable those sleep states by default.  I don't imagine that will be a problem for PC builders anyway since most desktop users aren't really worried about the extremely small differences in power consumption they offer.  For mobile users and upcoming Haswell notebook designs the increase in battery life is crucial though and Intel has surely been monitoring those power supplies closely. 

I asked our in-house power supply guru, Lee Garbutt, who is responsible for all of the awesome power supply reviews on pcper.com, what he thought about this issue.  He thinks the reason more power supplies don't support it already is for power efficiency concerns:

Most all PSUs have traditionally required "some load" on the various outputs to attain good voltage regulation and/or not shut down. Not very many PSUs are designed yet to operate with no load, especially on the critical +12V output. One of the reasons for this is efficiency. Its harder to design a PSU to operate correctly with a very low load AND to deliver high efficiency. It would be easy just to add some bleed resistance across the DC outputs to always have a minimal load to keep voltage regulation under control but then that lowers efficiency.

Source: Tech Report
Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Obsidian Series for under $100

If you need a case for your next PC build, the chances are good that Corsair has a model that you'll like.  Ranging from the obscenely large Obsidian 900D to the $69 Carbide 200R and just about everything in between, Corsair has a ton of options  Today we are reviewing the brand new entrant to the Obsidian series, the 350D, that brings Corsair to the Micro-ATX form factor. 

The Obsidian series is the flagship chassis line from Corsair and typically means you are getting the best of the best from the expanding components company.  With an MSRP of just $99 you are definitely making some sacrifices on features and on size, limiting us to Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboards and systems. 

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The front panel has an attractive brushed finish to it with removable front panel (and fan filter).

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Connections up top include headphones, microphone as well as a pair of USB 3.0 ports.  There power button is right in the center with dual LEDs on each side.  The reset button is just to the right of the mic port and is recessed enough to prevent accidental presses.

Continue reading our review of the Corsair Obsidian 350D chassis!!

Noctua Offers Free Alternative Mounting Kit for Low-Profile NH-L9a Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 26, 2013 - 12:30 AM |
Tagged: noctua, nh-l9a, hsf, cooler, mini-itx, low profile cooler

Noctua, an Austrian company known for its high-end air CPU coolers has announced that it will be offering up alternatvie mounting kits to users of its low profile NH-L9a cooler that have incompatible motherboards. Certain mini-ITX motherboards that place components on the back of the motherboard around the processor socket are incompatible with the company’s existing SecureFirm 2 mounting kit because the backplate cannot be installed.

Low Profile Noctua NH-L9a CPU Cooler.jpg

The new alternative mounting system for the NH-L9a CPU cooler uses Noctua’s NM-APS3 spacers that go in place of the standard backplate. The spacers go in between the motherboard and screws, but are small enough to not run into any components installed in the area normally reserved for a CPU backplate. Two such boards that Noctua has found to be incompatible are the mini-ITX AsRock FM2A75M-ITX and AsRock FM2A85X-ITX.

Users with an incompatible motherboard and NH-L9a cooler can obtain the alternative mounting kit for free by contacting Noctua’s customer service line and providing them with a proof of purchase (scan, photo, or electronic invoice) receipt for both the Noctua cooler and an incompatible motherboard. Additionally, Noctua will be including both the standard SecureFirm 2 and alternative mounting kits in the retail NH-L9a cooler box from now on.

It is nice to see Noctua continuing its tradition of good customer care. They many not be as popular as other cooler vendors in the US but it seems they are a company willing to go the extra mile for its enthusiast customers.

Source: Noctua

Triathlor? Seriously Enermax?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 25, 2013 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: PSU, modular psu, enermax, TriAthlor, 650W

Platimax, Triathlor and NAXN; perhaps Enermax is not gifted at picking names for their PSUs but for the most part they are known for creating solid PSUs which do the job they are intended to.  Setting aside the name, this 650W mostly modular PSU has four 12V rails that combine to a peak of 54A, 648W which is certainly enough to power a modest multi-GPU system.  [H]ard|OCP put it through their own special brand of torture and were pleased with the results, a pass on all of their testing albeit results which trail the competitions offerings.  That keeps this PSU in the running as far as performance but at a current cost of $120 and perhaps higher in the future, it is hard to recommend this PSU over ones that do not cost as much and provide power of a quality at least equal to if not better than the Triathlor.

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"Today we bring you an "athletic" power supply from Enermax that weighs in at 650 watts. The new Triathlor series sports plenty of features that enthusiasts will like including Silent Cooling, Flexible Cable Management, is marketed as being Rock Stable at All Loads. Enermax ads that, "The Triathlor FC is not a blinky poser."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Corsair Goes Small with Obsidian Series 350D Micro ATX PC Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 25, 2013 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: SFF, Obsidian Series 350D, obsidian, corsair

Fremont, California — April 25, 2013 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components, today announced the Obsidian Series 350D High Performance Micro ATX PC case. Available with a solid or windowed side panel, the Obsidian Series 350D brings unprecedented expansion and cooling options to smaller, more portable, high-performance PCs.

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Like larger cases in the premium Obsidian Series line, the Obsidian Series 350D sports a clean, black, brushed-aluminum styling. The case is also designed for fast and neat builds with tool-free access and drive installation as well as an innovative cable routing system.

The Obsidian Series 350D case supports both Micro ATX and mini ITX motherboards and has plenty of interior space for liquid CPU cooling, dual 3.5” hard drives, dual 2.5” SSDs, dual 5.25” drives, and dual full-length graphics cards. It also has five expansion slots and five fan mounting points with room for two 240mm radiators. The front panel provides convenient access to USB 3.0 and audio connectors.

“The Obsidian 350D’s versatile expansion options give builders the ability to pack a lot of performance into a smaller form factor,” said Thi La, Senior VP & GM of Memory and Enthusiast Component Products at Corsair. “Its stylish, compact design makes it a perfect high-performance PC case for smaller living spaces or for gaming LAN parties.”

The MSRP is $109.99.

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Source: Corsair

Do you dare put Super Pipes in Corsair's Super Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 23, 2013 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: corsair, obsidian, Obsidian 990D, super tower

If you are looking for a housing for a super system, Corsair's monumental new Obsidian 900D, aka Super Tower, might be for you.  The midget in the picture below is the 200R mid-tower, cowering in front of the 40lb, 27.3"H x 10"W x 25.6"L 900D.  Triple TITANS and terabytes of storage are nothing to this case, it will swallow them and leave plenty of elbow room for you to tweak a fully installed system.  You really have to read [H]ard|OCP's full review to understand just how many features have been added to this case; certainly enough to win it a Gold Award.

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"Corsair is finally pulling back the review embargo sheets on its new "Super Tower" 900D PC case. Details and pictures have been leaking out for months, but now we finally get to see if all the hype is justified. If you are wondering what a "super tower" is, well let's just say there will be a lot of desks that the 900D will not fit under."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

NZXT's New "Grid" Hub Can Consolidate Up To 10 Case Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 19, 2013 - 08:46 AM |
Tagged: nzxt, case fan, fan controller, fan hub, cooling, grid

NZXT has announced that it is making its Grid fan hub available to the masses. No longer only available with certain NZXT cases, the Grid fan hub takes a single Molex power cable and provides 3-pin power outputs for up to ten fans.

The NZXT kit will come with the Grid hub, a 200mm long Molex power adapter, a single 200mm long (3-pin) female-to-female adapter cable, and two 200mm (3-pin) fan extension cables. NZXT is also including five black cable ties to assist with cable management.

NZXT Grid Fan Hub For Up to 10 Case Fans.jpg

Unfortunately, the Grid does not provide functionality to allow adjustable fan speeds. All fans connected to the Grid hub will run at 100% unless other means (such as resistors) are used inline to slow them down. If you only care for speed, and are in a situation where your motherboard does not support enough fan headers but you cannot justify a full fan controller the Grid might be for you. For the price, it is serviceable in that regard.

Speaking of pricing, the Grid fan hub will be available soon with a MSRP of $11.99. More information is available on NZXT's product page.

Is the Grid something that you could see yourself using?

Source: NZXT

Lian-Li Launching Two New Mini-ITX Cases In May

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 19, 2013 - 07:03 AM |
Tagged: PC-Q28, PC-Q27, mini-itx, Lian Li, aluminum case

PC Chassis manufacturer Lian-Li has launched two new mini-ITX cases that will be available next month. The PC-Q27 and PC-Q28 are both brushed aluminum cases that accommodate a single graphics card, a mini-ITX motherboard, at least one case fan, and several hard drives.

Lian-Li PC-Q27 Mini ITX PC Chassis.jpg

The PC-Q27 is the smallest of the two cases at 7.8” x 11.8” x 9.4.” The case is constructed of aluminum and the outside features a black or silver brushed aluminum finish. The front of the case features a single 5.25” optical drive bay, a LED-lit power button, and two USB 3.0 ports on the right side of the case. Internally, the PC-Q27 case uses Lian-Li’s rail motherboard mounting system for mini-ITX boards. It can host a single graphics card up to 195mm in length, two 3.5” hard drives, and one 5.25” drive. The case is cooled by a single 120mm bottom-mounted fan when the hard disk drive bay is removed. To facilitate airflow, the case has vents along the bottom and rear of the case. The case is held up by case feet to allow the fan to pull in cool air.

Lian-Li PC-Q28 Mini ITX PC Case Brushed Aluminum USB 3.jpg

Meanwhile, the PC-Q28 is a bit larger and wider at 8.9” x 12” x 13.5.” IT also comes in a silver or black brushed aluminum design. This case is the successor to Lian-Li’s PC-Q18. It can hold a mini-ITX motherboard, a single GPU up to 290mm in length, and up to seven 3.5” hard drives. The mini-ITX case features two removable hard drive cages and two fans. There is a single 140mm fan located on the bottom of the case that acts as an intake (and includes a dust filter to keep the case internals clean), and one 120mm exhaust fan on the top of the case. The outside of the case features four case feet to lift the case off the ground, rounded corners, and a simple front panel that host a power button and 5.25” drive bay. The right side of the case hosts two USB 3.0 ports and two analog HD audio jacks.

Both of Lian-Li’s new mini-ITX cases will be available sometime in May. The smaller PC-Q27 has an MSRP of $78.99 while the PC-Q28 will cost $118.99.

Read more about the Mini-ITX form factor at PC Perspective!

Source: Lian Li